On the weekend of the 13th-15th November, an amazing event was held at the ExCel in London; The Doctor Who Festival. Obviously for me, this was absolute heaven being a regular attendee of Comic Conventions and having one dedicated to Doctor who was just wonderful.
Me and my dad (who was almost as excited as me) arrived with some friends and, being in the Cyberman group, were ushered straight into the theatre for a panel on special effects. I expected a lot of queuing, but there was barely any. Since my friend Shiri is amazing and bought me a photo op ticket for my favourite, I headed for the Dalek area first, to see her, but the security guard was me funny about passing a certain line so I only got to wave to my friends (of which some I didn’t even see later… Hopefully i’ll meet them soon- it was a little difficult being in different groups) but I saw them, at least, whilst he played messenger. Pretty quickly we went into the panel, where we waited for around half an hour before it started and I met my friend Treena.
It was pretty awesome to get to spend the day at a Doctor Who event with a friend i’d met through Doctor Who (and musical theatre/medical dramas, but first who.) and meet other friends I may not have known if it weren’t for doctor who or Jenna Coleman too.
We sat together, talking about the day and other general things whilst waiting for the panel to start and fangirling a little over the advertisement video featuring Jenna and Holby CIty’s Chizzy Akudolu and Donald Gilet, until the panel begun. I did expect the panel to be interesting, but not as interesting as it was. We learnt all about costume design, how things are created, how to make things look like a different material to what they are and loads more. It was really interesting and I won’t lie, I wish I was artistic enough to do a job like that. Everyone there was extremely talented.
After the panel finished, it was time for our first photo op. Treena and I were both lucky enough to be meeting Jenna Coleman and I honestly could not contain my calm. Squealing and singing and more likely than not, embarrassing Treena, were all things that happened whilst we queued to meet the queen. I’m also fortunate enough to say that both my dad and Shiri got me a Jenna ticket so it wasn’t only one photo and moment I shared with my biggest inspiration. I’m so grateful for that, i’m so grateful for meeting her anyway. As I went up to meet her, she greeted me by my name and asked me how I was to which I replied with something along the lines of ‘I’mamazingthankyouhowareyoucanihaveahug’ in a panicky mess. And as she always is, she was absolutely lovely. She gave me a hug and we got a hugging photo, followed by a brief talk about dance and us posing for the second photo, a ‘strictly style photo’. When I asked for a dancing photo she grabbed my hand and said ‘Okay, you can lead’ which totally did not make me internally die at all. Afterwards I thanked her and said meeting her meant the world to me and was the best present, to which she wished me a happy birthday and thanked me too. I probably jumped about 10ft in the air after saying I hope she’d have a good day because I couldn’t believe that the whole thing had just happened. The amount of times I questioned Treena on the matter is unreal.
After that was our only real time to sit down. We went to a cafe for a while and I ordered some fruit tea and a granola (which was probably the most expensive thing I’d ever eaten, though it did taste fab) and we had a chance to just sit and talk (whilst Treena and my dad seemed to gang up on me- love it when your family steal your friends) and got to talk to a few friends as they passed, which was amazing. After chats and hugs and photographs we headed for the festival hall. It was pretty amazing to see that they had a set featuring Davros from ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ and a hell of a lot of costumes lined up to see, which we, of course, took a look at (and a lot of photographs). I got a little excited about this, adoring both cosplay and Clara’s style, but I admittedly wanted to steal ALL of Clara’s shoes. Plus, i’m the same size as Jenna, so why not? Though I decided against it in the end, convinced by Treena, the sensible adult, and me not wanting a criminal record. Plus, I do have a few pairs of Screen accurate shoes, so let’s not be greedy. After not wanting to leave what was practically Clara’s wardrobe, I spent a little bit too much money on festival merchandise (it hasn’t been a waste! The keyring looks lovely on my keys and I’ve worn my t-shirt quite a lot) and we prepared to go to our next panel.
The next panel was the writers’ panel which, yet again was amazing. Sarah Dollard just left me in awe (that was before i’d seen her extremely cruel (but amazingly written) episode- the initial script can be found on the BBC writers’ room Archives website, here: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/DW9-EP10-Face-the-Raven.pdf) and I thought it was rather interesting (especially as I’d love to go into writing- not necessarily script writing, but some form of writing). And, is it bad to say I was shocked to not have heard Moffat curse once? Having heard the stories, briefly, of what’d happened in his Dalek panels… Not in one of our panels was he rude in language, but maybe a little blatant to some fans who seemed to annoy him. We stayed in the same place for another panel featuring Moffatt, the cast panel! Which was, in my opinion, the best panel. Maybe because it was the only one with Jenna involved… But hey! Not biased! This panel was made complete by the wonderful Michelle Gomez, Ingrid Oliver and Peter Capaldi, too. It was absolutely adorable to see Michelle, who is absolutely bonkers, defending Peter Capaldi at all costs. And Peter doing the same for Jenna. And Jenna being an absolute cutie and making me emotional. And Ingrid being the most adorable fangirl ever. It was just amazing, I couldn’t believe I was in the same room as such wonderful people. I didn’t get to ask a question, but I was happy with just sitting listening. Also, Peter was determined for a man in a wheelchair to ask his question, so despite there being no time, practically forced them to let him which was so cute. I’m just honestly so grateful to have been at the festival and in that panel.
After the consecutive panels, it was my chance to meet two wonderful women; Ingrid Oliver and Michelle Gomez. Treena, my dad and I went to meet Ingrid first, queuing up in the same area we met Jenna. I was stood admiring her amazing fashion sense to begin with but she was just so lovely to everyone, it was lovely to watch. When it was my turn, she greeted me by saying ‘Hello Lauren with the lovely hair and the lovely eyebrows’ which made me really happy- she made me feel a lot more confident in general and about my appearance and comfortable around her too. When I asked her for hugging photo, she said that hugging would be wonderful and basically, Ingrid Oliver as a person, is the loveliest and sweetest ray of sunshine. Me and Treena both met Ingrid (and my dad took some fabulous candid photographs whilst we were meeting her, so I was happy about that), but all three of us met Michelle afterwards, and I have to say, watching her is the most insane thing. She’s just amazingly bonkers and I don’t think one person in the room stopped laughing for even a moment in her presence. Every photo we saw being taken was just golden and she made so many comments to people and us, as if she had an audience, it was hilarious. But there was unforgettable moment; A family queued to get their photo taken, not too far infront of us, all dressed up. They got a cute family photo with Michelle but as the rest of the family walked away, one little boy (dressed up as a cyberman) strayed… He grabbed onto her immediately and gave her a huge hug and just wouldn’t let go! She spoke to him and insisted he had his own photo (which she wanted a copy of) and oh my goodness, it was just the cutest thing to watch. He loved her to bits and she clearly had a love for him growing too. It’s hard to explain the extent of the moment beautifully , but Meg/@the_doIio on twitter managed to take a great picture, which she’s let me include in here, under this link: https://twitter.com/the_doiio/status/665888744512335872 . Michelle was just lovely and mad and meeting the woman I loved in Bad education and Doctor who was pretty awesome. And my dad got a photo too, he was rather chuffed- A memory to take away from the day, physically, and getting to properly meet her (she’s his favourite and he loved the vibe she gave off all the time).
Since one of our friends was very kindly giving us a lift home, just beyond 5pm we had to leave the event. I didn’t think I could do this without seeing my friends, though. Whether they wanted me there for not (hopefully they did…), I pestered them for 5 or 10 minutes before setting off home, which of course included a hug attack from Shiri before i’d even reached the group of people I feel extraordinarily lucky to have in my life. It was so nice to, even briefly, get to meet with these people and Doctor Who Festival gave me the chance to physically do so. The best thing is knowing that i’ll be able to see these people again at some point, but DWF gave us a gateway to all meet up together.
I’m incredibly thankful for having turned to the internet to associate myself with other Jenna and Doctor Who fans because if I hadn’t, there’s a fair chance that these people would not be in my life. However well I know them, they’ve all had an impact on my life and positively affected it- I hope i’ve done the same.
Photos from the day can be found on my instagram, http://www.instagram.com/meridaoswald.
Sorry, this ever so slightly turned into an essay… I hope it wasn’t too boring and i’m aware I went on a little. Anyway! DWF was a fab day and i’m grateful for all of the people that I met. I hope anyone reading this gets an opportunity to do something like this- Celebrating something they love, meeting people they love… Was anyone else at DWF? What did you think of it? What was the highlight for you? Love always, Lauren xx
PS- I’m aware I haven’t written a blog post in a while but I have some things planned, so hopefully I’m getting back into it.